10/31/03 COG Meeting
Friday, October 31, 2003 at 8:30a.m.
Offices of the Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway
Doug Doan, Spencer Wren and Mike Myers (COG Railway)
Matt Carpenter (Friends of the Peak)
Paul Cohen (Community Member)
The following are a few of the possibilities for our help:
- Terminating the Incline below the Barr Trail parking lot to discourage use and access.
- Partial reclamation, revegitation and ongoing maintenance of the Incline.
- Possible coordinated effort to manage traffic and parking in Ruxton Canyon. Develope a long-term strategy for encouraging parking in downtown Manitou Springs.
- Possible expansion of trailhead parking, possibly restrict longer-term trailhead parking to downtown.
- Potential increased parking enforcement/better coordination by the City of Manitou, the Cog and Barr Trail users.
- Co-ordination with Manitou-trolley.
- Alternate strategies for existing parking. example-better security for Chateau/Cog parking.
- Shifting of liability.
Some of the questions we have to better understand the situation:
- Understanding the parking problem specifics. Are they limited to July and August? What dates? What times? Where do they feel the non-Cog parkers are taking spaces? What is their assessment of the problem-is it dozens of spaces on a given day? Have there been any further acts of vandalism to the fenced parking areas?
- The Manitou Trolley. Has the Trolley service helped? Hurt? How amenable/flexible has the City been in tailoring the Trolley schedule with the Cog? Has there been any co-ordination of info to the Cog ticket purchasers about riding the Trolley up Ruxton?
- What other ideas has the Cog had? What else have they tried to eliminate the problems?
- Fenced Lot. How much of the problem was eliminated by fencing the parking lots?
- Any benefit to Cog from Barr Trail hikers. Do they get many riders that originally hike the trails? Or, specifically come for both the Cog and Barr Trail?
Matt and I met with Doug Doan, Spencer Wren and Mike Myers who is in charge of parking. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Cog parking as it related to the trailhead parking for the Barr Trail and the Incline. It was a very informative meeting and lasted several hours. Follows are some of the areas of discussion:
- Parking Management: The Cog currently has adequate parking. While the Cog has added a number of trains in the past few years, they currently have adequate parking. (The Cog still has two small trains they could add in the afternoons if the demand was there. However, the timing of the trains would be such that existing parking would be adequate.) They also mentioned that they were offered employee parking on Hydro but it was declined because the employees did not want to walk that far.
They have managed their current parking by better coordinating the timing of their trains and by marshalling every parking place available. It was apparent that they have expended a great deal of management time and resources looking at every possible area of parking. Their greatest concern appeared to be the parking that they were using but do not own. The Cog is currently using two lots that they do not own; 1) The Chateau parking lot and 2) A Colorado Springs City lot - the unpaved lot to the Northeast of the main Cog building.
They have a drawing showing a parking lot on the Campbell Property on Ruxton (to the East of their parking and North of the Chateau). They almost purchased the lot and buildings for $285,000 but the transaction fell through. They also feel that the current asking price for the Chateau is more than they want to pay for the parking lot. I think they may have paid $100,000 to pave what they called their upper lot and initially experienced some difficulty obtaining permits due to neighborhood concerns.
- Parking requirements: The Cog confirmed that the crunch was confined to the three months between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They also indicated that the real problem was primarily weekends (including Fridays) during these summer months. They estimated current daily parking to be about 1000 cars daily (?). So the problem period is mainly focused on the 12 or so summer weekends. They are aware of both their ownership of the and under the first part of Barr Trail and of the access to the City lot that they are now using.
- Problem parkers: When asked by Matt what their greatest parking problems were, they replied that it was the military.(!) Apparently the various branches of the service use the Mountain as training almost daily over the summer months. And although they often use military vehicles for the groups, a large number arrive by private car. They related an event that evidenced some serious friction. Apparently after some parking dispute (or towing), the Cog personnel arrived in the morning to see every space at the Chateau blocked on both sides by a continuous line of cars parked bumper to bumper.(!) Otherwise they said that they do not lose many parks a day-maybe five spots taken during peak times (and that ten would be a stretch). They mentioned several times that they thought the parking was under control thanks to Mike.
One of the interesting facts of the day was the large amount of traffic generated by trail users driving to the Barr Trail lot when it is already at capacity and then circling back down and through the Cog traffic & pedestrian traffic in search of parking. They also said they have a trash problem and have a problem with some people using the area behind the storage shed as a bathroom.
- Trolley: The Cog felt the City Trolley was marginally helpful (maybe 20 Cog passengers per day) and that it was not a viable long-term solution since continuous funding was suspect. They said a shuttle from downtown Manitou (using the Disneyland model) was a possible long-term solution but unlikely due to the cost of the required parking lot and shuttle vehicles.
- Ruxton: The Cog Management holds a very strong opinion that the upper Ruxton Canyon is at capacity and that further use would be detrimental to the locals (and maybe to the environment). Apparently they take a good deal of heat from the local residents from time to time over the auto congestion. They were very concerned about the prospect of attracting additional use to the upper Ruxton area. This was a concern independent to the parking issue. I am guessing that they are specifically concerned that the Cog use will have more critics if and when more users come to use the Incline. They believe the alternate portals to the Peak is a better, long term, solution. This seems important to us, as it is a concern that cannot be addressed by having adequate parking for all users. An open Incline may not have that effect.
- Alternate Access to the Mountain and Incline: Apparently the alternate access that they were contemplating for the runners, hikers and fat tire bikers was the Longs Ranch Road access opposite Waldo Canyon. Matt pointed out the improbability of convincing people to drive several miles and then hike in three miles to get to the trail--when people are having trouble enough parking a mile down Ruxton. Matt also shared all the other Mountain access points that are being worked on by other groups and it appeared that this was somewhat news to the Cog Management.
- Perfectly Clear: The Cog Management wanted to make sure that while they may be willing to entertain certain discussions, that they are not condoning or allowing use of the Incline.